Senior High Graduate Recognition Ceremony
Submissions for the Senior Class Address will be accepted from participating graduates who have homeschooled for all four years of high school. The speech should be 3 to 5 minutes long, must be the student’s original work, and should reflect how being homeschooled through high school has impacted his/her life or helped shape who he/she is. Speeches will be judged on content (please be careful to highlight homeschooling without criticizing other methods of education), structure, presentation, and overall effectiveness.
Send a cover letter with your name, address, phone number, a written version of your speech, and a video recording of your presentation on DVD (no CDs, please), postmarked by March 2, 2015. DVDs will not be returned. The decision of the judges is final. Winners will receive a monetary gift.
AFHE Sr. Grad Speech Contest
2416 W. Cordia Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85085
Speech Contest Submission Deadline
Must be received by March 6, 2015
(Please mail your submission early enough for us to receive it by March 6.)
Suggestions for an Effective Speech
You are writing a 3-5 minute speech about your experiences being homeschooled through high school and how this has affected your life. You will be speaking before well over 2,000 people, most of whom are relatives and friends of a fellow graduate.
What you choose to write about will be the most important decision because it will affect every aspect of your speech. Consider first your audience. Take into consideration the parents in the audience who have sacrificed greatly to reach this point with their children. Be sure to recognize their efforts and thank them on behalf of all the graduates.
Have something original to say. This is a reflective point in your life and in others' lives listening to you. What have you learned about life? How will you make your mark on the world? Who are people from the past or present who inspire you? Is there a historical event that helps you put life in perspective? Feel free to share something about the centrality of your faith to your future goals and direction, but keep in mind there will be a diverse audience with varying views. Also avoid mentioning specific branches of faith and/or presenting specific political figures or parties.
Be humorous! Find a way to lighten the moment with a funny observation or a transparent moment. This doesn’t mean you have to search joke books, but as you have others read your speech, ask them where you could add some lighthearted words to put others at ease (and yourself at the same time!)
Videotape your speech in good light, standing up facing the camera, and looking at the camera. Memorize your speech, but feel free to use a few note cards, if needed, to remember your outline and next point.
Use gestures where they are natural to do so. Be sure to make eye contact with different sections of the audience, rather than focusing your attention in one spot the entire time. Keep in mind you are trying to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Don't forget to smile occasionally!
Speech contest participants will be judged in the following areas:
Structured around purpose, organization (opening, body, conclusion), support material, immediately engages audience, relevant exmaples, unified whole
Achievement of purpose, thanks parents, holds interest
Important ideas, logic, original and meaningful thought
Appearance, body language (gestures, expressions, and body positioning), eye contact
Variation, movement in volume and rate, clearly spoken, easily understood
Directness, enthusiasm, confidence
Choice of words, humorous, precisely fits the occasion, states how homeschooling impacted or helped shape student, avoids disparaging other faiths, political affiliations, and education choices
Grammar, pronunciation, word selection, directs attention to thoughts rather than words
All graduates who submit a speech for the speech contest will receive feedback from the judges.